Track where US gov bailout trillions went with augmented reality mobile app

recover.jpg

A new augmented reality app from Layar allows Android and iPhone 3GS users to view recovery.gov contract dollars at play work in the real world.

Image above: an example of what those happy blue bailout bubbles look like, bouncing about on the thoroughly bailed-out streets of Washington, DC. My only criticism so far (I haven't tried the apps): instead of blue circles as representational icons, the designers really should have chosen taxpayers' tears. Snip:

Layar is an application that overlays your view of the real world with waypoints representing your favorite coffee place, the movie theatre you're trying to find, or in this case, where some of that $787 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. If you have an iPhone 3GS or Android device you can install the Layar app for free and then search for "recovery" or "sunlight" within Layar to find this layer. The layer works best near large cities where you are most likely to find recovery contracts.

Recovery.gov Augmented Reality Mashup [Sunlight Labs, via Micah Sifry]

Layar Reality Browser [Layar]

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  1. seems inherently misleading, since it’s commonly known that the bailouts exceed 4-5 trillion dollars at this point.

  2. to avoid catching flack for saying ‘it’s commonly known’ without citing sources, i’m just going to say right now that i don’t have any (time to find credible) citations, so take my comment as hyperbole if you have to.

  3. Would be better if you could track each individual derivatives trader.

    Then you could follow them around with one of those cardboard video cameras.

  4. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the stimulus package, not the bailout. So that’s billions not trillions, and tax relief/infrastructure/eductation/etc, not derivatives traders.

  5. Xeni, I think you are mistaken.

    The TARP bailouts were trillions given away to sociopathic multimillionaires in order to allow them to continue to foreclose on the houses of people who’ve lost their jobs in the Bush/Reagan Miracle Economy.

    The ARRA stimulus, at least in theory, is billions spent to employ jobless workers in order to rebuild America’s failing infrastructure. Obviously there are rich sociopaths trying to hijack that money too, and they might succeed, but that’s not built into the plan.

    Lots of people get them mixed up. But ARRA is not supposed to be a “bailout”… despite the work of people like Kaufman diverting infrastructure rebuilding dollars into the pockets of zaibatsus like DuPont… it’s supposed to be more like Roosevelt’s CCC.

  6. “The ARRA stimulus, at least in theory, is billions spent to employ jobless workers in order to rebuild America’s failing infrastructure”

    That’s how it was pitched to the public, but in reality only about 10% of the money is targeted towards that goal. It also ignored reality in that commercial/infrastructure employment was relatively steady while residential housing construction employment dropped like a rock, and one cannot simply transfer from one sector to another without more training and possibly certification. This also would do nothing to help those displaced in the financial/service industries. This isn’t the 1930’s where most people hold down manual labor jobs where skills can be easily put to use in many different sectors.

    1. …ignored reality in that commercial/infrastructure employment was relatively steady while residential housing construction employment dropped like a rock, and one cannot simply transfer from one sector to another without more training and possibly certification. This also would do nothing to help those displaced in the financial/service industries.

      Speaking as someone who personally transferred from commercial building to roadwork and housing construction and back again several times, I think you are overstating your case here. Nobody ever trained or certified me for anything, and nobody ever asked me if I had any training or certification – they asked me stuff like “can you dig to a line” and “can you work a hot service without getting anyone killed”.

  7. I think you should leave your political tears out of this.

    I’m more surprised that those who value freedom of information and transparency are not in awe over the disclosure of information in this administration.

    When have we -ever- been able to follow government spending so thoroughly? Of course it’s not going to be 100% perfect – I bet you can’t tell me where 100% of every single penny you have every had in your pocket has been or gone to – but it is a amazing feat of transparency that I wish was spoken of more.

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